Looking for a change of career? Perhaps to a job that has the potential to increase the quality of your life while making a huge difference in the lives of children and young people?
Then it’s important to understand some fibs about fostering. There are lots of fibs and myths about foster care in the media, which can give you the wrong impression about the role. Find out who can foster from our top 10 fostering fibs. How many of these fibs have you believed?
Who can foster?
1. I’m single, so I can’t foster
It’s not true that foster carers are required to be married. All that we ask is that they have a desire to look after children and young people and help them work toward their future. Both single men and women are welcomed in the agency and and will always be encouraged to become foster carers. Upon successful application, you’ll become part of a larger team so there is no need to have a spouse to share the responsibilities of caring for a child. At Freedom Fostering, you never foster alone; there is a strong team working with you.
2. I don’t own my own home, so I can’t foster
You do not need to own your own home in order to foster a child. Many of our foster carers are in rented accommodation after completing checks with their landlords. You do need specific approval to have foster children in your home. You’ll need to provide financial security and stability too if you are living in rented accommodation – so a long term rental is best for a foster child.
3. I’d love to foster but I’m gay
Your sexuality is irrelevant to you becoming a foster carer. All LGBTQ+ people are always welcome to apply to become foster carers. Of all things to consider in becoming a foster carer, your sexual orientation will never be judged.
Every placement is discussed prior with both the child and the foster parent regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.
4. I want to foster but I work
When you become a foster carer, your first obligation should always be to your foster child, as this is a 24/7 job. However, fostering may not be a consistent source of income and without a placement, there is no payment. If you choose to apply, you will discuss your job with us and what your thoughts are around keeping it. Arrangements can often be made to accommodate a job alongside fostering. If you have a spouse or partner, one of you should always be available for the child.
5. I am retired and too old to foster
At Freedom Fostering, we have a lower age limit of 21 but that is mostly about maturity. There is no upper age limit. There are, however, health requirements. If you are in good health, mentally and physically, and have a high energy level, being a senior citizen is not an impediment to being a foster parent.
6. I have a baby, so I can’t foster
Do not eliminate the possibility of fostering because you have a baby. When you apply to become a foster parent, your current situation is discussed and assessed at length. A new baby can bring a change in dynamic but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t foster. Your ability to provide care for both your baby and foster child needs to be considered. Our priority is ensuring that you aren’t overwhelmed and that neither the baby nor the child in care is left wanting, or needing, more attention and care than you can provide.
7. I have pets, so I can’t foster
Pets are considered great therapy pals for children in care so the first response to this myth is that you can become a foster carer if you have pets. However, there are two exceptions to the statement that having pets will not disqualify you from fostering.
- Local authorities will not allow children or young people to be placed in homes with more than three dogs or in a home with dogs listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act.
- Guidelines to ensure pets are healthy, gardens are kept clean and pets are kept under control also need to be adhered to.
8. I am disabled, so I can’t foster
Not all disabilities disqualify you from fostering. While there is an emphasis on good health for foster carers, disabilities are not necessarily disqualifiers. If fostering will not put your health at risk, a disability will not prevent you from being a foster parent. There are expectations that must be met and if you can perform typical daily activities and attend necessary meetings, your disability will not be a preventative factor in fostering.
9. I don’t have children, so I can’t foster
Experience is not required to be a foster parent. Not everyone can have children. This does not mean that you don’t have all the necessary mental, physical, and emotional equipment necessary to foster a child.
As for the experience, we provide ongoing training and support. If you have never had a child and therefore think that you will not know what to expect from a child placed with you, do not be concerned. A supervising social worker will be available for you from the beginning of your assessment and throughout your journey as a carer.
10. I’m unemployed, so can’t foster
Being unemployed is beneficial for becoming a foster carer – it means that you are always available to care for a child. This would involve attending training sessions, meetings, and appointments that involve fostering and the child’s medical, educational, and social needs without having to reschedule prior commitments.
During the assessment process, being unemployed is not considered. Being unemployed assures that you are accessible and available to meet the child’s need at all times. However, there is a financial repercussion to being unemployed in some cases. If you have not had a job income for some time, you could possibly have a debt load. During the assessment process, one of the matters that is discussed is your financial situation.